Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 142

sudden. Moving quickly now can become a
major competitive advantage later, and it is any
moment now. Europe is doing its homework,
and the pieces are now in place for the process
to accelerate.
“Some of that homework has been putting in
place the financial elements for these sectors
to take off. Between Horizon 2020, the
European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the
new Investment Plan for Europe, the
prerequisites are there.”
Energy
In addition to investing in research in the blue
economy, Vella also emphasised the limitless
potential of the seas in producing renewable
energy. According to the Commission, the
sector also provides significant job
opportunities, estimated to be up to 420,000
by 2050, and consequently economic benefits
and growth.
“A story worth a thousand words is that of
ocean energy,” said the commissioner. “The
potential here is tremendous. First of all,
power generation would be constant. The tides
T
he Euromaritime and Eurowaterways Trade Show is the European
event dedicated to the sea and inland waterways. Taking place
in February in Paris, the conference is organised by Le Marin
and GICAN (Groupement des Industries de Construction et Activités
Navales), or the French Marine Industry Group. The three-day event sees
over 300 exhibitors representing all sectors of the maritime and river
transport industry and over 5,000 visitors.
Opening the 2015 event was the European Commissioner for the
Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella. Addressing
delegates, the commissioner opened his speech by acknowledging the
significant potential of the European maritime industry to become a
“world leader”.
“This is a crucial moment for your business – it’s a crucial moment for
the blue economy. From your sector, the maritime economy, we can hope
for a real push to help our economic recovery and to create the jobs of
the future.
“Already, approximately 3.6 million people work in the mainstream
maritime sectors, like tourism, fisheries and fish processing, transport
or shipbuilding, and if we play our cards right, these numbers could grow
by millions by 2020.
“Yet then there is also all the new sectors coming up. They might not all
have spectacular figures now, but they could be the key to improving the
job prospects of many young people and establishing the EU as a world
leader in some technologies. I’m thinking here of marine biotechnology,
marine renewable energies or seabed mining, to mention but a few.”
Horizon 2020
Horizon 2020 includes specific funding for research in the marine
environment, €3.8bn of which is for the Societal Challenge entitled ‘Food
security; sustainable agriculture and forestry; marine, maritime and
inland water research; and the bioeconomy’. The 2014-2015 Work
Programme includes the ‘Blue growth’ focus area, which had a budget
of €100m in 2014. According to the Commission, calls in this area have
included proposals on Atlantic observation systems, an integrated
response capacity to oil spills and marine pollution, climate change
impacts on fisheries and aquaculture, and ocean literacy.
Speaking to delegates, Vella said that it is important to focus on bringing
new products to market, thus helping to ensure Europe’s industrial
competitiveness. The commissioner also drew attention to the
contribution that other EU policies can make, namely the Investment Plan
for Europe and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund: “Do not think
we are lightyears away from their commercial stage. Yes, new
developments take time at first, but then they can go very fast all of a
I S S U E S I X
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
142
S O C I E TA L C H A L L E N G E S : E N V I R O N M E N T
Vella’s marine vision
Portal
carries the thoughts of
Karmenu Vella,
European Commissioner for the
Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, as he opened the Euromaritime
and Eurowaterways Trade Show
Karmenu Vella
highlighted the
importance of
developing new
innovations
© European Union, 2015
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